how badly can alcohol abuse affect a spouse

The effects of alcoholism on a marriage can be disastrous. Spouses who deal with the impact of alcohol abuse in the home can think of a long list of issues that harm the marriage. These include financial hardship, frustration, shame, anxiety, neglecting their children, and the fear of physical harm. In fact, one of the most devastating, negative effects involves the alcoholic spouse.

The correlation between addiction, alcohol abuse, and violent behaviors is well documented. A report by the U.S. Department of Justice states that nearly 40% of crimes involve individuals who had consumed alcohol when the offense took place. Alcohol affects the person’s ability to control their emotions when triggered. The alcohol can impair the individual’s executive functions, the region of the brain associated with decision making, emotional regulation, and impulse control.

When it comes to the relationship between spouses, alcohol can trigger violent or aggressive behavior toward the spouse, especially in an alcoholic spouse with poor anger management or coping skills to begin with. The combination of poor emotional regulation and alcohol abuse can result in domestic violence, in which a spouse physically or sexually assaults their partner.

Unhealthy Coping Strategies

Living with an alcoholic spouse can have profound short and long term effects on the other spouse. These individuals tend to neglect their own health and wellbeing, suffer depression and anxiety, become socially withdrawn, and acquire a substance use disorder themselves as a result of living with an alcoholic spouse.

How Alcoholism Negatively Affects Marriage

Along with increased levels of anger or violence, there are many other negative consequences of alcoholism that can cause severe damage to a marriage. Some of these occur when the spouse:

  • Becomes withdrawn and detached, unable to be emotionally supportive to the other partner
  • Becomes unable to function at their job, possibly being demoted or terminated, jeopardizing the family finances
  • Loses interest in their physical appearance, potentially gaining weight and ignoring hygiene, becoming less appealing to the spouse
  • Becomes so wrapped up in the alcoholism that the marriage ends in divorce

At Asana Recovery, we understand how difficult recovering from these addictions through our daily work to help those struggling most from this disease. While some may believe they can make it alone, rehabilitation programs are essential in the fight to break dependency. The road ahead is not a smooth or easy one, but you can traverse it if done so with the support of the right team. Counseling and aftercare processes can assist you by addressing the psychological facets that led you to addition and help you build a structure from which to better cope with life without succumbing to addiction.

The supervised detoxification and residential treatment programs at Asana Recovery are offered in a supportive, relaxing, and inspiring environment. We’re deeply committed to ensuring your long-term recovery, and guiding you on your path to a healthier and happier future. There is no better time than now, and we’re always available to speak with you. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment program today.


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